We were all looking in amazement at the NFC playoff game on Sunday night between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. The Eagles were ahead by the score of 16-15, however, there was under a minute to go and Chicago was driving rapidly down the field to set up a 3-point field goal opportunity to win the game. With only a few seconds left Chicago field goal kicker, Cody Parkey would attempt a 43-yarder which was well within his ability. The line was set, ball hiked, and the kick was perfect, the only problem, Philadelphia had called a time out just before the kick, so the play was dead. Parker had to do it again, so, line set, ball hiked, kick was made, but this time the ball hit the upright and crossbar and the ball fell back into the field of play…. referees signaled, no good. Chicago’s wait for a playoff victory was over. They had waited since 2010. Parker’s head sunk, the Chicago home crowd erupted in boos toward Parkey as he left the field. He had failed and let his team down.
Parkey’s response to sports writers after the game were, “You can’t make this up. I feel terrible. I let the team down.” But, he said the sun would come up tomorrow. Parkey may one day say that January 6, 2019 was the worst day of his life. Only time will tell.
As I went to bed on Sunday night I reflected on the feelings of pain, hurt and rejection that Cody Parker was experiencing. I felt bad for him and began to liken it to some of my own pain, failure and rejection that I experienced about 14 years ago. Although our causes of pain were quite different the results were very much the same.
Cody had let his team and fans down…….in one kick he became the loneliest player in the NFL…so did I, I let my family, church and friends down……on January 4, 2004 I felt that I was the loneliest man on the planet. The fans who had cheered him for the two field goals he earlier made were the ones who booed him at the end.
As goes the NFL, he will probably lose his job…so did I, a church I had loved and pastored for 26 years.
He faced his failure as fans booed him off the field……I too was booed in business meetings for months after I left the church I loved.
He took responsibility without slipping out the side door into the cold Chicago air by answering sportswriters’ questions about his failure. I too took responsibility for my bad decisions, repented and confessed them and have lived with it through continual restoration to this very day.
I look back at those self-inflicted sinful times 14 years ago with regret, however, in all that adversity God showed mercy, grace and encouragement and placed people in my pathway to help me up. Today as I look at those times I realize that in my journey God showed me Himself in ways that I had never experienced.
I don’t know Cody Parkey and probably will never meet him, however, one day he might look back on the night of January 6, 2019 as a turning point in his life. I have prayed for him and admired his integrity. Only God can change things to make an ugly situation turn to rejoicing.